Mammograms Under the Age of 40

mammoA few years ago my cousin died of cancer that took over her entire body. Shortly after, a friend had announced she had breast cancer and went through radiation. My brother announced he had melanoma, and had to go through interferon treatment. I am determined that if I have some horrific disease such as cancer, I will not go through what my cousin did, for one.

I had my first mammogram around the age of 30, because I had a lump-ish thing that turned out to be normal. (I was told it was often caused from too much caffeine.)  My insurance at the time covered it.

Fast forward to last year. There was another issue. I’d been having burning sensations in my chest area, on the upper part of my breasts. It almost felt muscular, but I’m not a doctor so I couldn’t judge what could be causing it. Well, let me back up a bit.

Ten years ago I did something sort of stupid, something that I was always against, but I was caught up in the moment and felt really insecure. I got breast implants. I loved them for about 8 of those years. But then I gained weight and they became tiresome… and heavy. I believe that was the reason for the burning sensation, so on my own dime I got them out. I felt so free and relieved to have this crap out of my body, and I still can’t believe I did it in the first place. My doctor mentioned doing a mammo, but we wanted to wait until I was completely healed. So I did.

Once my 40th birthday was coming into place (three months prior to), my doctor wanted me to have the mammogram. I still had some burning sensation, but not nearly as bad as I’d had while bearing implants. Apparently the doctor noted it on the referral as a “screening,” which insurance does not cover if you’re under the age of 40. It doesn’t matter if your birthday is 3 months, 3 days or 3 hours away – they WILL NOT COVER mammograms under the age of 40 unless there is a legit reason for it. (Because, like every other woman I know, we all volunteer to have our boobs squeezed to death by a machine just because we like it, right?)

I am still fighting with the insurance company, which claims it has no record of why I needed the mammo. I am working with the radiology center, which is the one that told me (after the fact) that it’s not covered if you’re under the age of 40. I said I don’t understand why the age of 40, because I know plenty of people that get cancer or whatever prior to 40, and why do a few months matter??

I am still attempting to contact my doctor (both of us moved) to straighten this out. So now the dilemma continues. Right now, I consider whoever writes these policies are the biggest boobs of all, especially after reading these articles:

http://www.today.com/id/4960650/site/todayshow/ns/today-today_health/t/im-under-how-can-i-have-breast-cancer/#.URm4VKVhqS0

http://www.seattlemag.com/article/best-seattle/top-doctors/breast-cancer-striking-more-women-under-40-ever

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/barbara-dehn/breast-cancer-screening_b_1797583.html

http://www.cancer.org/cancer/breastcancer/moreinformation/breastcancerearlydetection/breast-cancer-early-detection-acs-recs

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2 thoughts on “Mammograms Under the Age of 40

  1. I’m in Ontario, and had no problem getting a mammogram before I was 40, as I had a strong family history for breast cancer. As far as I know, my cousin in England didn’t have a problem either for the same reason. If you’re at risk, I think you should get the mammogram. As you say, cancer does not respect age…Good luck with your fight.

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